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Oscars Night Installation Will Project Israeli Hostage Photos Next Door to Vanity Fair Party | Exclusive

Courtesy Hostages and Missing Families Forum

Next door to Vanity Fair’s Oscars party, a pair of producers have organized an installation projecting images of the hostages taken by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. Producers Matti Leshem (“The Survivor”) and wife Lynn Harris (“King Richard,” “Hocus Pocus 2”) are behind the event, with the photos being shown on all sides of a nearby office building.

“As Hollywood producers, our most important night is Sunday night,” Leshem told TheWrap. “The entire industry comes together to celebrate the best. For that to go without remembering the hostages for us would be wrong.”

“We needed to do something about it. The Oscars, the people who go, are the most influential in the world. The media that covers them,” Leshem added. “It is a global event of massive importance, and we cannot go by and act like this year is like any other year, while 134 people languish in the darkness not seeing sunlight, and the women are repeatedly raped.”

Leshem and Harris have been doing what they can in support of Israeli hostages since shortly after the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, Leshem said.

“We were trying to come up with different ideas for Oscars, and got shut down at every turn,” Leshem said.

They’d looked into seeing if they could get attendees to wear yellow ribbons in support of the hostages, but “it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to do anything around the actual Academy Awards.”

Their breakthrough came when they cold-called the owner of the nearby building, who Leshem said told them, “Whatever you want.” He called friends at global events company Invnt, who flew a team from New York to put the installation together.

“We’re going to have massive installation — a picture of every hostage still in captivity, different messages about bringing them home,” Leshem said. “If you’re coming down Santa Monica Boulevard, if you’re parking at Annenberg, you will see the message.”

The event almost didn’t happen, thanks to a Beverly Hills permitting problem. But they managed to get an emergency meeting called to approve the permit Friday night, following two hours of testimony in support of the event.

“We’re two Hollywood producers doing what Hollywood producers do,” Leshem said.

The need for raising awareness around the Oscars was also being done with the knowledge that many stars who’ve been outspoken about the Israel-Hamas war have largely been speaking out about Israel’s government rather than the hostages. Leshem mentioned a potential win by actor Mark Ruffalo for “Poor Things.” He has been outspoken about his concerns with Israel’s government and how it has approached the war with Hamas and attacks on Gaza, so his acceptance speech could include comments around those issues.

“It’s critical that we remember that we live in a broken world and this is going on,” Leshem said. “This cannot stand while the Oscars go by.”

Closer to the awards themselves in Hollywood, those protesting Israel’s war against Hamas and the casualties and damage it’s caused in Gaza will be holding a “Free Palestine” march. It begins outside the Cinerama Dome this Sunday afternoon.

TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.

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